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But Of Course

Updated: Nov 17, 2019

The other week I had drinks with a former client to celebrate her winning a new contract. She shared an email she received that made a high-impact impression.The email response she received opened simply with,"of course."

The response came from a business partner as a follow-up to her request for content creation for an upcoming client presentation. Her service partner’s email gave instant relief and comfort. No explanations, no delays, and no extra, unnecessary narrative. The work request was in hand as asked and for the timing needed. Of course!

The story made me reflect on emails I receive, send, and the language we use. If I generalize, there often seems to be BUT in many of our communications to one another. The BUT takes the form of extraneous narratives, commentary, delays, and rationalizations. Do we really intend to convey all these excuses in our responses? I don’t think so.

I started to read my email responses with a different lens. What I discovered about myself was that I write a lot of excuse emails: “Sorry for the delay,” “I have a couple of other deliverables and then", “If my schedule holds,” "I have a couple of meetings and then,” and the list goes on. I have changed the way I write my email response. For anyone who has had an email interaction with me over the last number of weeks, I am hoping there’s difference. I’d love to hear your feedback.

My most common response was " sorry for my slow reply." My clients and network don’t want to hear my apology and excuses; they want a response that addresses their needs. “Of course,” “definitely,” and “you will have it by then,” are good places to start the communication.

My emails take me a couple of minutes longer to write as I am breaking the pattern of communication. It feels different. In taking this time to change my email style, I hope my email recipients feel that I am focused on them and what they want, not why I couldn’t respond to their email or request. I am increasingly more direct in requesting extensions to timelines or letting people know that I will provide follow-up at a revised date. I am in the client services business, and it’s not about me, it’s about my clients.

As an executive coach, there are times I give my clients homework. This article comes with a homework assignment. I’d like you to read your email responses twice for the next week. Once for editing and once for language.

Check your responses for:

  • Adding qualifiers: but, maybe, if, should, potentially

  • Adding detail that your reader doesn’t really need to know or really care about

  • Making excuses

  • Apologizing for the delay

Time to re-read your emails for more than spelling and grammar.

What are your emails really saying about you and your personal brand?


About Lisa W. HaydonLisa W. Haydon is the President and Founder of Pivotal Coaching Inc. She left her comfortable corporate career several years ago to follow her passion of helping people realize their potential and companies to realize high performance. Lisa is a growth focused entrepreneur, leadership development consultant and certified executive coach. To her clients, she brings business experience with prestigious corporations and continuous education. Lisa’s work in business operations and B to B sales expertise allowed her to create a differentiated coaching model and client experience. Lisa and Pivotal Coaching are known for 1:1 and cohort Programs in leadership development and sales effectiveness.

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